In Tampa, FL, being caught in public without a mask can be costly. Fines of more than $200 have been imposed for violating the new ordinance. Homeless people do not have the privilege of wearing a mask the entire time they are in public. They live in public areas. There are more than 1000 homeless community members in Hillsborough County, FL. Imposing fines on homeless people would create an unnecessary debt for them, unnecessary manpower for the county, and a further divide between homeless community members and local law enforcement.
Is wearing a mask a necessary precaution in fighting the Coronavirus? Yes. Is there a way our community can help those in need without a mask? Yes. If you have extra masks at home, put a few in your car, and give them out to homeless people you see without a mask. Doing this not only helps save their life, but it helps save the lives of countless other community members they may come in contact with. The Bautista Project Inc. recently teamed up with Hope for Tampa. The organization is a need-based group that stepped in to fill the gap for medical workers when there was a masks shortage in Florida. Hope for Tampa provided masks for homeless community members in the Tampa Bay area. With over 10,000 mask requests and more than 100 volunteers, the group sewed scores of masks and delivered them to requesting institutions.
Want to help, but don't have an extra mask to give, that's okay. Scarves, bandanas, and other fabric work just as well. We all have a role to play in keeping our world healthy. Visit the CDC.gov for the latest updates on the Coronavirus and how you can keep yourself and those around you healthy. #DontTripUplift